WindEurope, formerly known as EWEA, held its third bi-annual Analysis of Operating Wind Farms workshop on April 14 and 15, in Bilbao, Spain. This was the first event under the new name after the organization officially rebranded on April 6 – a decision made to reflect the transformation of wind energy from a niche sector to a competitive and mainstream industry. The event had as speakers the representatives of local government, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), operators, certification bodies, university lecturers and more.
The focus of the workshop was on innovative approaches in operations and operations and maintenance (O&M) strategies, with a strong focus on the growing use of big data in boosting wind turbine performance and life extension techniques. Speakers talked at length about the opportunities that come with focusing more on data analytics and made it clear that this is the direction in which companies, especially some of the OEMs, are headed. David Vernooy from GE Renewable Energy brought up the fact that GE has already pledged USD 1 billion (EUR 890 million) in this direction, whereas Valeri Voev from Siemens Wind Power posed an open question through his presentation: ‘Would you consider Siemens as your supplier of choice from wind power technology and service if we didn’t invest and innovate in data analytics?’ A strong majority of presenters talked about applications of data analytics methods, focusing on extracting value from operating data, detecting faults, and advanced performance modelling. The final session dealt with innovations in operations and served more as a demonstration of things to come and future key topics.
Marko Bezbradica, representative from Serbia, said the event had a plethora of interesting presentations from some of the top wind energy experts. “Even though the topics might be seen as somewhat out of place for Serbia and the region at this moment, it is necessary for all interested parties to keep up with these developments in order to improve their long-term planning. Presenters often referred to proactive and reactive strategies and one could only hope that the Balkan region would take advantage of the opportunities and pursue the former,” he stated.